Monday, May 11, 2009

Gateway to Hollywood

Ashok Amritraj on "Gateway to Hollywood" (photo source:

Somehow, I came across and got hooked onto this Indian reality show about filmmakers. Its called "Gateway to Hollywood," and it is a bit like "The Apprentice" for young, amateur filmmakers. The show brings together 18 talented filmmakers from across India and over the course of 16 weeks of challenges, picks the best to direct a film in Hollywood...a dream for any filmmaker!

The show is run by former Indian tennis-pro, now turned Hollywood film producer, Ashok Amritraj, who is eager to give young, talented filmmakers the chance he never had. While the show is poorly produced, the quality of the filmmakers, their tasks, and output were really solid. So good infact that I sat up for two nights in a row and watched the episodes back-to-back.

I love the idea of ex-pats returning to their countries to help their own develop. I honestly think that the health of a developing country's economy depends on the health of their ex-pat community. Look at India, China, Korea, and Mexico. There are many more examples where these come from; but an ex-pat's strong cultural ties, tenacity, intelligence, lessons learned along the way, coupled with the west's business practices of efficiency and ethics, makes him/her a force to contend with.

Unfortunately, Gateway episodes are archived on the horrible rediff ishare platform (as opposed to the infinitely smoother and more reliable hulu, youtube, or vimeo sites), so I've had numerous problems with viewing them. Still I would encourage a view.

I was blown away and heartily encouraged by the latent talent in India; I'm sure every other developing country has this level of talent just hanging out waiting to be discovered!

Here's a part of the first episode:

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